Wednesday, August 06, 2008

How can I get a padded jail?

Jim Zemlin is a featured speaker and panel coordinator today at LinuxworldExpo. His intro to the panel questions started with the assertion that over the years (have there really been 18 LinuxWorld Expos so far? wow) that Linux has become nearly ubiquitous, including a lot of pictures of mobile devices, servers, desktops, laptops, services, collaborations tools, etc, which are all using Linux. He talked also about initiatives, including Green data centers, Cloud Computing, etc. which are more widely enabled as a result of Linux being so prevalent and accessible within the industry. In many ways, Linux is enabling many of these emerging technologies because it provides a common basis for innovation which is easily accessible and eliminates the need to build every new initiative or product from scratch.

Jim also provided a reinforcement that the "competitor" from which we in the Linux community need to learn from today is no longer Microsoft (well, they might have a trick or two that we can still learn) but the real competitor today is Apple. Jim took a poll to see who has some sort of Apple device today and at first glance, it appeared to be the entire room -- At a Linux conference! -- had an Apple product. A little digging showed that Apple products weren't quite ubiquitous but the point was by then made. Jim also pointed out how Microsoft and Apple are finding a way to sell products that have vendor lock in. The products are not open, not easily available, controlled by a single entity and basically are a jail for consumers. Of course, he then pointed out that the Apple Jail looked a lot like a 4 star hotel room with video on demand, a great view, clean and neat, and was a jail that most of us find to be rather luxurious. The next slide, though showed the Microsoft Jail - emphasizing that the roughness of conditions were exacerbated by the fact that you were often trapped in that jail with no amentities, some very large rough looking malware types, and a raft of viruses to make your stay as unpleasant as possible. And, the wrap up was the equivalent Linux "Jail" is more like a visit to Burning Man - free and open, yeah, there may not be a lot of frills, the power might go out, but you are free to come and go as you will, you can improve your surroundings as you choose, and ultimately you can really enjoy yourself. Perhaps Burning Man is not the best analogy here, but it makes the point quite nicely.

Jim's panelists included James Bottomley of kernel community fame, Christie from the Motorola alliance providing Linux enabled cell phones, and David who helped create the (no longer available in stores) Walmart PC.



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